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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Mrs. Mass.: Wild things

January 23, 2014

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The history of fashion is a wild and crazy ride.

Clothing styles, colors and prints from 100 years ago are drastically different from the street style nowadays. And yet, there still exist some striking similarities that reveal the evolution of certain pieces (like women’s skirts or men’s suits, for example).

Interestingly enough, current fashion trends generally favor the mixing of both modern and vintage pieces, which can create looks that evoke a sense of familiarity and curiosity simultaneously. But where do you find vintage clothing? (Beyond grandma’s closet, that is...) Lawrence offers a few shops that specialize in vintage ­— or retro — attire. One of the more well-known boutiques is Wild Man Vintage, and rightly so.

 Find Wild Man Vintage at 939 Massachusetts St., 856-0303, wildmanvintage.com

Find Wild Man Vintage at 939 Massachusetts St., 856-0303, wildmanvintage.com

In case you’re not familiar with vintage fashion, let’s begin with a basic definition. Vintage is generally understood as clothing from the time period spanning 1920-1990 (or 20 years prior to the present year). At Wild Man Vintage, you will certainly find items from various decades across this time range. During my recent visit I met and spoke with Phil Chiles, the owner and operator of Wild Man, who explained the careful process involved in selecting store inventory. A true wild man at heart, Phil travels the region to scout estate sales and clothing collections for unique, but wearable, pieces. That’s why you can count on Wild Man Vintage to offer one-of-a-kind, affordable vintage.

The store itself is pretty groovy. Electric green walls showcase vintage outfits and LP album covers. These details, in addition to the hardwood floor, really complete the look and feel of the past. The store carries both men’s and women’s clothing, as well as shoes in the rear of the store, and accessories up front.

As for what you’ll find on any given day, well, it’s hard to say! Phil admits that the inventory turns over quite quickly; if you visit and find something you like, better buy it while it’s in your hands because there are no guarantees it’ll still be available a day or two later.

It’s true that fashion trends and styles are forever changing; however, the most stylish ladies and gents often have a knack for integrating both new and old pieces into their wardrobe. Whether it’s a plaid shirt, a beautiful pair of worn-in boots or a delicate piece of jewelry, vintage items can provide that unexpected polish. If you’re in need of inspiration, stop by Wild Man Vintage. You’ll certainly enjoy it, and you may even find a few keepers. And let’s face it, that’s a lot more than you can say about digging through your grandma’s closet.

— Jessica Pauly, aka Mrs. Mass., gives her thoughts on shopping, urban living and what’s new in Lawrence in CheckOut weekly and on her blog, mrsmass.com.

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